Monday, December 27, 2010

What's for Dinner Menu Plan - Three Year Blogiversary!

Late addition to post: I just realized that today is my 3 year blogiversary! It's hard to believe that I have stuck with this for three whole years. I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of myself. :) So, here's to three years of blogging about what I eat for dinner. It's not a huge accomplishment, but it entertains me. ;) Hopefully, it has been helpful to some of you as well!

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend. We were lucky enough to get snow flurries on Christmas day that made for beautiful travel without the travel hazards. My brother in New York, though, got a blizzard! I have to say I'm a bit jealous. We just don't get huge snows anymore. We did have a wonderful time visiting family, and the great thing is that Corey and I still have one more week off of school!

Last week I decided it was time that I get my body in a healthier state again. I know, what a stupid week to start a "diet" (if you want to call it that), but better to start when you are feeling motivated. I'm not a huge person or anything, but when you are 5' 2", it doesn't take much extra weight to make you feel pudgy. Anyway, to make myself feel better about my health, I feel like I need to take off about 10-15 pound, and I would like to reach that goal by May. I've done Weight Watchers in the past, and it works for me. I'm not officially going that route this time (I'm too much a of a cheapskate), but I'm still using that basic premise - eat a lower calorie, lower fat, high fiber diet and make sure I exercise regularly.

I am using SparkPeople to track my calories and SparkRecipes to calculate the calories in my meals (which also allows me to calculate WW points if I choose - I still have my points calculator). On my recipes, if you see WW points listed, these are using the old Flex Plan method. I'm not using the new method that just came out this month that counts fruits as 0 points. I just want people to know that in case they are using my recipes for their own weight loss journey.

I started my healthy eating journey (I hate the word "diet") on December 22, and I have already lost two pounds. Those first couple of pounds always come off fast for me, and then I lose tenths of a pound at a time. But, slow and steady is a good way to go. :) My calorie range for weight loss is 1200-1500 calories per day according to SparkPeople plan (or 20 WW points per day), which seems to be working well. I will be adding the calories and WW points to the bottom of each recipe as I make them this week.

As you look at my meal plans, hopefully you won't notice much difference. I don't cook differently for me than my family. My husband and son, who need to be eating more calories since they are training for a marathon, still eat the same foods as me, but they eat larger portions. A lot of time when people diet, they stop making "normal" food, and then end up putting weight right back on once they reach their goals. Basically, I just need to watch my portion size. So, my meals will remain family friendly and won't be full of weird diet foods. :) Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Christmas at Grandma's house
Monday - Taco Bake, Broccoli, Salad
Tuesday - Grilled Bruschetta Chicken, Peaches, Green Beans, Salad
Wednesday - South Seas Pork Chops, Pineapple Slices, Green Beans, Salad
Thursday - Paprika Chicken with Sour Cream Sauce, Rice, Brussels Sprouts, Salad
Friday - Baked Potato Bar, Salad, Fruit
Saturday - Red Beans and Rice with Sausage, Salad

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Red Beans and Rice with Sausage

This is a really easy, very tasty version of red beans and rice. My family loves it.


Ingredients:
1 lb. smoked turkey sausage, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. chili powder
2 t. cumin
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
2 cans (15 oz) fully cooked red beans
2 c. beef stock
2 T. flour + 3 T. water
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups cooked rice (3/4 cup servings)

Directions:
1. Cook sausage, onion and garlic in large stock pot for 5-8 minutes, until onion is tender and sausage is starting to brown. Stir in seasonings and cook for an additional minute, until very fragrant.

2. Pour in red beans and beef stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer. Simmer as little as 15 minutes, just to heat through and combine flavors or let simmer all day for fully developed flavor.

3. Before serving, remove about a cup worth of beans with a slotted spoon. Mash and return to the pot. Bring back to a boil. Stir together the flour and water until smooth. Slowly pour into the pot while stirring constantly. Boil for about 5 minutes, until thickened enough to cover the back of a spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked rice.





Recipe adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mint Chocolate Delights

These are awesome right of the oven. My husband says they are like thin mints done right. :)


Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 pkg Nestle Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 40 cookies



WW points - 3 per cookie

Monday, December 20, 2010

What's for Dinner Menu Plan

We are officially on Christmas vacation! Last Friday was our last day of school, and now we have two weeks off with no planned schedule. It feels so great. I plan to read, cook, sew, and take lots of naps. :) Corey and I don't get to just hang out a lot, and we are really looking forward to goofing off together. Eric still has to work, but we'll be able to bring him lunch and things like that, and we'll have Christmas weekend as a family.

I'm keeping the menu simple this week and am focusing on family favorites. I'm also trying to stick with things I have in the pantry and freezer since we are at the end of the month and the budget starts to run low at this time of the month. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy and have a fabulous Christmas!

Sunday - Leftovers (we needed to finish off the stuff in the fridge)
Monday - Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Peaches
Tuesday - Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
Wednesday - Grilled Chicken Soft Tacos, Fruit Salad
Thursday - Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, Green Beans, Salad
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Eat dinner at Grandma's house

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's for Dinner Menu Plan

One more week until Christmas vacation! I am so ready to have some time at home with my family. I'm going to sew, read, cook, take naps, play games with my son, and just enjoy Christmastime. This weekend my hubby wasn't feeling well, so I made some Christmas cookies to fill my time. Here's my cookie list:









The menu this week is going to sound pretty boring, because I bought a ham and now I need to use it up. :) Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Ham, Cheddar Potato Strips, Parmesan Green Beans
Monday - Country Ham and Macaroni Casserole, Salad, Peaches
Tuesday - Leftovers from last night
Wednesday - Crockpot Corn, Potato, and Ham Scallop, Salad, Applesauce
Thursday - Book Club - TBA
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday -Steak, Baked Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mint Capped Brownie Cookie Cups

You just can't go wrong with something called a brownie cookie cup! :)


Ingredients:
48 Mint Truffle Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 T water
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda


Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 48 small muffin cups on baking sheets (I put 24 on each sheet). Remove wrappers from chocolates.
2. Beat butter, sugar, water, and vanilla in large bowl on medium speed of mixer until well blended. Add eggs; beat well.
3. Stir together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating on low speed just until blended. If necessary, refrigerate dough until firm enough to handle. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (I used a 1 inch cookie scoop); place in muffin cups.
4. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until cookie surface is set. Cookies will appear soft and moist. Do not overbake. Cook about 5 minutes on wire rack. Press chocolate piece into surface of each cookie cup. Cool completely on wire rack.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.


Recipe source - back of the Hershey Kiss bag :)

White Chocolate Lemon Cookies

I'm usually not one to eat cookies that don't have chocolate, but these are actually quite amazing!



Ingredients:
2 boxes lemon cake mix
1 C butter, melted
2 eggs
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 12 oz package white chocolate chips
1/2 t shortening

Directions:
1. Melt the butter and add it to the cake mixes. Mix together. Add eggs and mix together.
2. Add lemon juice to mixture.
3. Mix with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until combined.
4. Add all but 1/2 C of the white chocolate chips; mix until incorporated evenly.
5. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls or use a cookie scoop; place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. (I had to cook mine a bit longer.) Be careful not to over bake. Take the cookies out of the oven when they have cracked on the top. Then let them finish cooking on the hot cookie sheet for about 2 minutes. Put on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
 6. Melt the remaining 1/2 C of white chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add the shortening to the chips and stir. If they aren't melting put them in the microwave for another 30 seconds and stir. Don't get it too hot or it will coagulate.
7. Drizzle the white chocolate over the tops of the cooled cookies with a spoon.

Makes 4 dozen

Recipe adapted from Jamie Cooks It Up

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What's for Dinner Menu Plan

Two more weeks until Christmas vacation! I can't believe how fast the time is going by. My poor kid has had a tough week. Our wonderful hike last weekend ended up being a bad deal for Corey - he got a horrible case of poison ivy and ended up in urgent care mid-week. :( After getting a shot, he is slowly mending, but it has not been fun.

I finally got my apron finished for the Christmas Flirty Apron Swap. I think it turned out very festive. The fabrics are very sparkly, which doesn't show up in the photo.

This week is a normal school week filled with lots of activities - ortho appointment for the boy, school Christmas program for me, academic team meet, school Christmas party, etc. I tried to keep the menu simple, and I am still trying to use up the last of the stuff in the freezer before I restock over Christmas break. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com. Enjoy and have a great week!

Sunday - Lasagna (from freezer), Salad, Broccoli
Monday - Meatball Hash Brown Bake, Green Beans, Peaches
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Sausage and Potato Soup, Salad, Applesauce
Thursday - Turkey and Gravy (from freezer), Mashed Potatoes (from freezer), Green Beans
Friday - Homemade Pizza, Salad, Oranges
Saturday - Eat at Christmas party

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